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Markham v. Reish

June 25, 2010


The opinion of the court was delivered by: Hon. John E. Jones III



Before the Court in this action brought under 42 U.S.C. § 1983is Defendants Ralph Reish ("Reish"), James Smink ("Smink"), Lenny Socko ("Socko"), Randall Treas ("Treas"), and Daryl Miller's ("Miller"), (collectively "Defendants") Motion for Summary Judgment. (Doc. 34). For the reasons articulated in this Memorandum, the Court will grant the Motion and enter judgment in favor of Defendants.


Summary judgment is appropriate if the record establishes "that there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and that the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law." Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(c). Initially, the moving party bears the burden of demonstrating the absence of a genuine issue of material fact. Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323 (1986). The movant meets this burden by pointing to an absence of evidence supporting an essential element as to which the non-moving party will bear the burden of proof at trial. Id. at 325. Once the moving party meets its burden, the burden then shifts to the non-moving party to show that there is a genuine issue for trial. Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(e)(2). An issue is "genuine" only if there is a sufficient evidentiary basis for a reasonable jury to find for the non-moving party, and a factual dispute is "material" only if it might affect the outcome of the action under the governing law. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc, 477 U.S. 242, 248-49 (1986).

In opposing summary judgment, the non-moving party "may not rely merely on allegations of denials in its own pleadings; rather, its response must ... set out specific facts showing a genuine issue for trial." Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(e)(2). The non-moving party "cannot rely on unsupported allegations, but must go beyond pleadings and provide some evidence that would show that there exists a genuine issue for trial." Jones v. United Parcel Serv., 214 F.3d 402, 407 (3d Cir. 2000). Arguments made in briefs "are not evidence and cannot by themselves create a factual dispute sufficient to defeat a summary judgment motion." Jersey Cent. Power & Light Co. v. Twp. of Lacey, 772 F.2d 1103, 1109-10 (3d Cir. 1985).

However, the facts and all reasonable inferences drawn therefrom must be viewed in the light most favorable to the non- moving party. P.N. v. Clementon Bd. of Educ., 442 F.3d 848, 852 (3d Cir. 2006).

Summary judgment should not be granted when there is a disagreement about the facts or the proper inferences that a factfinder could draw from them. Peterson v. Lehigh Valley Dist. Council, 676 F.2d 81, 84 (3d Cir. 1982). Still, "the mere existence of some alleged factual dispute between the parties will not defeat an otherwise properly supported motion for summary judgment; there must be a genuine issue of material fact to preclude summary judgment." Anderson, 477 U.S. at 247-48.


A. Procedural History

Plaintiff initiated this action with the filing of a Complaint on December 11, 2008. (Doc. 1). Plaintiff originally named as Defendants Warden Reish and John Doe Defendants 1-5. On March 26, 2009, Plaintiff filed an Amended Complaint that replaced the John Doe Defendants with the above-named Defendants. (Doc. 12). Plaintiff filed a Second Amended Complaint amending a typographical error. (Doc. 16). Plaintiff's Second Amended Complaint alleges claims for violations of his Fourth, Eighth, and Fourteenth Amendment rights and a claim for assault and battery related to an incident that occurred at Northumberland County Prison on December 13, 2006. Specifically, Plaintiff asserts that he was subjected to excessive force by the Defendants and was denied medical treatment when he was housed in an area apart from other inmates during his three-day incarceration.

On April 9, 2009, Defendants moved to dismiss Plaintiff's Amended Complaint. We granted in part and denied in part the Motion to Dismiss on September 30, 2009, and the following claims remained: (1) assault and battery claims against all Defendants; (2) Fourth, Eighth, and Fourteenth Amendment claims against all Defendants; and (3) an Eighth Amendment Denial of Medical Treatment claim against Defendant Reish*fn1 .

B. Factual Background

On December 12, 2006, Plaintiff was sentenced to imprisonment for a period of not less than three (3) days nor more than six (6) months. (Doc. 36 ¶ 1). Plaintiff arrived to Northumberland County Prison at approximately 8:45 a.m. on December 13, 2006. (Id. ¶ 2). When Plaintiff voluntarily surrendered himself to commitment, he failed to bring any paperwork or personal identification, ...

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